In the last week, we got three pieces of financial news, none of them things you'd want to hear at any time, but especially not when you've just made a big move, stepping out in faith, not knowing how God would provide.
After the second piece of news, Papa Rooster and I looked at each other and both said the same thing: "Gideon." It wasn't the first time that image had come to mind, as our resources had been diminished recently, first by new kitchen appliances and then by a new roof. Gideon, you remember, set out to defeat the enemy with a huge army, but God made him send men home, and then more and more men, till he was left with a fraction of his army. The reason? So that it would be clear that the victory would be God's, not attributable to the strength of men.
I'm sure Gideon, after that, wondered how exactly God expected him to defeat a huge army with just a handful of men. But it must have been clear to Gideon that God had a plan, and he would learn what it was once the battle began.
These setbacks--and one of them is a long-term adjustment--have been hugely disconcerting, raising many questions in our minds. But they have not caused us to doubt what God is doing--what we believe He showed us when He led us to this house. Not that He showed us the whole picture, but that it was the next step in what He was ultimately going to do in our family and in our church.
Like Gideon, I'm questioning how exactly He thinks we're going to be able to do this with such diminished resources...and I'm waiting to watch how He does it.
The truth is, we will be fine for awhile--but we may have to live on the money we had set aside to finish the attic (or at least to start the project with). Those plans are indefinitely on hold. It's such a disappointment, especially for Papa Rooster, whose office will have to remain in a corner of the living room (which is something of a sacrifice for the rest of us, too). But another truth is that we CAN live in the house as it is, without the third floor, and for that, we are so thankful!
I know many of you are wondering "What happened to him going full-time with the church?" Our vestry is working on that question! Circumstances are accelerating our need for income from the church. But it takes time for the wheels to turn, and we are still only a small body, with a small budget, and many members of our congregation are in difficult financial situations themselves.
I just keep asking, "How? How, God, are you going to do this?"
It's possible, of course, that all could fail. We had friends who sold everything and moved overseas to do ministry, certain they were following God's direction, only to have that ministry fall apart. Months later, they were back in the States, starting over, reeling with questions for God. If it could happen to them, it could happen to us, right?
But I don't think it's going to end up that way. I have a peace that passes understanding-- and I'm the one who usually frets over finances. I have a strong sense that God is about to do something--something amazing--not all at once but over time, through Light of Christ. I think it's going to be such a powerful work that the Enemy is making last-ditch attempts to foil the plans of God.
Our church has had a difficult summer. Papa Rooster has been under such an onslaught, trying to balance two jobs, two moves, teenagers, young adults, church needs and situations--and now financial worries. I can feel the stress too; my blood pressure is creeping up like it did for the first year or so after our move to Wisconsin. (My potassium is low, which could be contributing--at least I can do something about that!)
Teresa of Avila, I am told, wrote once that she always worried about the new ministries (convents and monasteries) she established that didn't seem to have any difficulties--because they always failed. The ones that went on to be thriving works were always initially met with great opposition.
It has been encouraging to see the rise of intercessory prayer among certain individuals and groups at Light of Christ. My own prayer life has grown tremendously during this difficult season! If the Lord leads you, please pray for this work that God is raising up, that we cannot see clearly yet. We welcome your prayers for us personally too, but I believe we are just part of the bigger thing God is on the verge of doing. It will be His victory!